By Emil Danielyan
International mediators plan to visit Armenia and Azerbaijan next week to keep up the momentum in their efforts to broker a framework peace agreement on Nagorno-Karabakh before the end of this year.
The U.S., Russian and French diplomats co-chairing the OSCE’s Minsk Group met with the two countries’ foreign ministers in New York less than a month ago. The talks reportedly focused on the possibility of holding another meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents shortly after Azerbaijan’s October 15 presidential election.
“The elections are over and I think we can continue to work on the points of interest to us,” the group’s French co-chair, Bernard Fassier, the Azerbaijani APA news agency on Tuesday. “For that reason the Minsk Group co-chairs plan to visit the region next week. But I can not yet give the precise date of the visit.”
The Armenian Foreign Ministry did not confirm the information, with a spokesman saying that no dates have been agreed for the co-chairs’ trip yet.
The mediators hope that President Serzh Sarkisian and his reelected Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliev, will bridge their differences on the basic principles of a Karabakh settlement that were formally proposed by mediating troika in November last year. Russian Foreign Sergey Lavrov said earlier this month that that Aliev and Sarkisian need to work out “two or three unresolved issues,” notably the future of the Lachin corridor linking Armenia to Karabakh.
Russia on Tuesday indicated its desire to take the initiative in the Karabakh peace process when its President Dmitry Medvedev publicly expressed hope that the next Armenian-Azerbaijani will take place in his country and in his presence “very soon.”
“This is a very interesting idea, but we need to discuss everything,” Fassier said, commenting on the Medvedev’s remarks statement made during an official visit to Yerevan.